[klahy-tel-uh m]
noun, plural cli·tel·la [klahy-tel-uh] /klaɪˈtɛl ə/.
  1. a ring or saddle-shaped region of glandular tissue in the body wall of certain annelids, as earthworms and some leeches, that after copulation secretes a cocoon in which the eggs and sperm are deposited for fertilization and development.

Origin of clitellum

1830–40; < New Latin, neuter noun based on Latin clītellae packsaddle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for clitella


noun plural -la (-lə)
  1. a thickened saddle-like region of epidermis in earthworms and leeches whose secretions bind copulating worms together and later form a cocoon around the eggs

Word Origin for clitellum

C19: from New Latin, from Latin clītellae (plural) packsaddle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for clitella



"raised band around an earthworm," 1816, Modern Latin, from Latin clitellae "a pack-saddle," diminutive of *clitra "litter," from PIE *klei-tro-, from root *klei- (see lean (v.)). Related: Clitellar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper